Haiti PM calls for truce ahead of Christmas celebrations

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

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PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti (CMC) – Prime Minister Jean-Henry Céant has called for a truce to street demonstrations by opposition parties as the French-speaking Caribbean Community (Caricom) country prepares to celebrate the Christmas holidays.

“I appeal to the patriotism of all, to surpass ourselves, so as to offer the population a climate of lull to allow them to approach these feasts with more serenity,” Céant said.

Opposition parties have been staging street demonstrations in support of their calls for President Jovenel Moise to step down, after accusing him of not investigating allegations of corruption in the previous government over PetroCaribe, an oil alliance of many Caribbean states with Venezuela to purchase oil on condition of preferential payment.

Several people have died as a result of the protests and western countries, including the United States, have authorised the departure of non-emergency government personnel and their families from the country.

Last month, Canada's Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland and International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau, in a joint statement, said the North American country “is very concerned about the … civil unrest in Haiti and is deeply saddened by the loss of life.

In making his call for the truce, Prime Minister Céant said “our divergences, whatever their motivations and legitimacy may be, have basically very little weight against the harsh reality of our collective dismay”.

His statement follows a similar call made last week by 40 political parties closely associated with the government that adopted a joint declaration signed in Pétion-ville, a suburb in the capital, calling for a Christmas truce.

The parties said they hoped their call would contribute to creating a climate of peace and provide an opportunity for an environment where the talks with the various stakeholders could take place.

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